Constructing a lifelong reservoir of neural stem cells

The research focus of the Lindsey Lab is to understand the context-dependent behaviour and regulation of distinct neural stem cell populations from birth to senescence, with learning and environmental interactions, and during the regenerative process following injury or with neurodegenerative disease. Along with plasticity and animal behaviour, and neural stem cells and repair; one of our research themes at the Lindsey Lab is maturation of the stem cell niche.

The discovery that the mature brain retains adult neurogenic niches with populations of neural stem cells capable of generating newborn neurons throughout life, has changed the long-standing dogma that “no new neurons” are  born postnatally in the brain. It is now known that neurogenic niches are present throughout invertebrate and vertebrate models alike, but how these stem cell compartments develop to their mature form and senesce thereafter is poorly understood. The adult neurogenic niche is a complex micro-environment composed of a variety of stem and progenitor populations, local vasculature, as well as signals arising from cell-to-cell communication along with cues from the circulating cerebral spinal fluid of the ventricular system. The Lindsey Lab is interested in understanding how the vertebrate adult stem cell niche is constructed and the mechanisms orchestrating its development and senescence.

The following types of question drive this theme of our research:

  1. When does the adult neurogenic niche take on its final form?
  2. Does the maturation and senescence of different niches occur over diverse timelines?
  3. When are different neural stem cell populations established in the niche?
  4. What is the stem cell-vasculature relationship within the niche?
  5. Does cell death act as a mechanism for niche development?
  6. What is the 3-dimensional geometric pattern of growth of the adult stem cell niche?
  7. How do different stem cell populations age in the niche?
  8. How does niche senescence relate to adult neurogenic output?
  9. Does the molecular regulation of the stem cell niche change over development?

If you are as fascinated by these questions as we are, visit the training opportunities at the Lindsey Lab in the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science.

Images of optically cleared zebrafish brains from larval to senescent stages of development showing zones of cell proliferation in pink


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